Citizen of two disasters

Liliana Lara

My two countries are two disasters; that’s why each day I try harder to live in an imaginary place. Let’s say: a virtual place. My participation as a citizen equals nil, because I’m an imperfect inhabitant that belongs to nowhere. I’ve got no voice to express my opinion about Venezuela because I’m no longer there – they say. I can’t say anything about Israel because I’m a foreigner – I think. From this citizen’s limbo, I’m neutralized and I overcome troubles as good as I can. Laws from here and there affect me; they don’t know where to place me. In order to ensure that my children were allowed to enter Venezuela, I had to obtain the Argentinean nationality for them – which corresponded them because of their father. It didn’t matter that they were my children: if they are travelling with an Israeli passport, they’re not allowed to enter the country, in which I was born and I lived until not long ago. Each time I have to visit bureaucrats, I have to explain how did I get here. Each time I step into an airport, I have to explain why do I want to get there. The day my children received the Argentinean nationality, we went to have an asado for export to celebrate it. The “welcome music” to that mock gauchesque was that old and painful song that says “I’m not from here, from there neither”.

No flag satisfies me. If we run out of water in Middle East, I’ll run to Venezuela. If there’s another war, if I’m suddenly close to a terrorist attack, if the Mediterranean Sea boils jellyfishes, if the promised atomic bomb falls nearby, I’ll return home. But my home is not my home anymore, but a battlefield where violence and criminals are winning the game by far. Venezuela rolls down the hill into its (or because of) invention, “XXI Century Socialism”. Theoretically, a new doctrine, but deeply rooted in ancient concepts and words.

For ten years, the State has been busy in changing names: for ministries, high schools, departments, banks, television broadcasts, currency. Everything has to get a new name that plays well with the new politic reality. And I don’t know the name of the things anymore. Meanwhile, a huge daily circulation’s newspaper front page: a picture that shows a painful reality, in which is to see the dead, naked bodies of ten people. They don’t fit in an overfilled morgue, that’s why they’re piled in a corridor. Criminals assassinated them all in any given weekend, in Caracas.Decomposing bodies that no one dares to shut their eyes or to bury them (in a common grave, of course). A war. If anyone states how impossible is to live with such violence, a minister breaks into laughter. Maybe he orders to close that scatological newspaper as soon as he recovers from his big laugh.

It’s the same laugh that emerges in an Israeli soldier, posing with tied up, blindfolded arrested Palestinians. The best time of my life, as described by herself in her own Facebook page, where she publishes the picture that will make her famous. It seems that my two countries are full of laughter. And corpses. And kidnappings. And arrested people. And political prisoners. And wars. And guerrillas. There’s more hunger in Venezuela, true that. And a millennial poverty that seems to hurt nobody. My participation as a citizen equals nil. I live in my imaginary country, my virtual country, my nuclear submarine, my B612 asteroid. If there’s a war, I’ll close my windows to hear it not. I don’t recycle, I don’t care about water, I just hope that the hole in the ozone layer will be big enough to swallow all injustice. I don’t support any minority, because I’m the minority’s minority. I would never demonstrate for myself, in the same way as nobody believes my political opinion is worth anything, being so far away, being such a foreigner.

Liliana Lara

Translation: Ralph del Valle

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